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Coin Grading and Identification Thread, Need help - I believe I have a rare piece of currency in General Numismatic Discussions; First of all....I am not a collector. I have done my best to educate myself on what I have, but ...
  1. #1
    liquidkitty
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    Need help - I believe I have a rare piece of currency

    First of all....I am not a collector. I have done my best to educate myself on what I have, but I am a TRUE novice about all of this stuff. I acquired a mediumd sized and random collection of coins and currency through family. I took it today to a dealer and we discovered that I am most likely sitting on a very rare fractional note. According to the Paper Money of the US guide there are only 2 known in existence. We believe I have the 3rd. It has literally sat in a box unseen by human eyes for at least 60 years. It is also in what is believed to be uncirculated condition.

    My dealer made a call today and was told on a whim, without this person sitting at their desk with info in front of them, that they believed that they are not "grading" (I believe I may have this term wrong) this item any longer. It was explained to me that what that meant is that "they" (I don't know who "they" are) believe there may be more in existence than originally thought. I have done as much research as I can, and I can only find references to the fact that there are only 2 known in existence.

    So....my question is....can somebody tell me a reputable AND knowledgable source who could help me determine the actual rarity of my piece? My dealer is sending it off for that to be determined and for the actual quality of the piece to be determined, but I think it would be smart of me to do my research on my own while that is taking place.

    Thank you in advance to anybody that can provide me any references. I appreciate it!

  2. #2
    Administrator Jesh's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to the forums

    Secondly, do you have an image of this note in question, or a scan? Or images of any of the collection? There is no such thing as not grading an item any longer, that makes no sense. It basically saying that they won't give their opinion on the item (correct me if I'm wrong, anyone). A respectable dealer would be PCGS Currency (PCGS Currency - Results You Can Trust from the People You Know), and a well established dealer should send it to them for grading if you request it. If you can supply an image of the note, that would be best. You should ask him WHERE he sent it to, also.

    With a little more information we can help you.

  3. #3
    liquidkitty
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    Hi. Thank you for the welcome and thank you for the response.

    Like I said, I am a novice and I am sure I have used some incorrect terminology so thank you for your patience.

    I only have a poor black & white photo copy of the note right now so I can not post any images. But it is a FR 1255a (3rd Issue 10cent fractional green reverse with Colby & Spinner signature). I understand it is the "piece de resistance" to completing a fractional set. The original is being sent to Heritage for evaluation, and I am told it will then be sent to PCGS or PMG for grading. It was one of my dealer's contacts at Heritage that stated that there is question to the actual quantity in existence, although I believe they were NOT the fractional expert at Heritage. I was not sure if I contacted PCGS or PMG, if they dealt at all with values or rarity issues. I felt like their purpose is only to verify the condition of the piece. As far as my dealer could tell it was flawless. No parks, bright ink, even margins (with the lower margin being a slight bit smaller), not folds, crisp corners & edges. My dealer even seemed shocked to see this piece in as pristine quality as it is in. Like I said, this collection has been untouched or unseen by human eyes for almost 60 years, if not longer.

    I feel so lucky that this dealer didn't scam me and actually owned up to the truth behind this bill. He knew I wasn't very knowledgable about my collection and could have easily said $500 and turned around and sold it for himself. He also spent a LONG time educating me about the rest of my collection, which unfortunately didn't have any more amazing finds.

    So do you suggest I contact PCGS or PMG myself and inquire about the rarity?

    Thanks again so much for your help.

  4. #4
    Administrator Jesh's Avatar
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    No I can tell you the rarity of it. If it is indeed a genuine FR 1255a then you inherited a very nice note. If it is original and it is in great condition, it will most likely sell easily for $100,000+.

    The finer of the only two know 1255a's sold for $138,000 at Heritage on May 5th, 5 years ago, in 2005, (source: Fr. 1255a Milton 3R10.5 10 Third Issue Choice New. The finer by far of only two examples known to exist. The other piece wa... Fractional Currency: Third Issue) with an estimate of $75,000, which is below.


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    Basically you'll have to wait and see what happens. If it really is, then you are very lucky. What other coins and currency were given to you?

  5. #5
    liquidkitty
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    Thanks! The info you provided I found as well, as well as a few other articles all of which claimed that there are only 2 known in existence, but it is believed that there had to be more printed (at least a sheet), but they have never surfaced. Well my situation would explain why this one never surfaced. My grandfather was a banker by trade and a numismatist by choice. It was his collection that I inherited. I don't know the history behind it though. I have every reason the believe this is a genuine piece which means I am a very lucky girl. We'll have to wait and see what Heritage and PCGS says I guess.

    The rest of the collection has severalMorgan & Peace dollars, as well as some ordinary 1941 coinage. There is a 1921 Alabama Centennial 1/2 dollar and a 1936 Oregon Trail 1/2 dollar, but they had both been cleaned a long time ago and have suffered sulfur tarnishing from the case they were in so unfortunately they aren't worth as much as they could be. There was also a very nice 1872 Seated Liberty. For the currency, there are several Confederate denominations. From $2 through $500. Unfortunately the $500 I have is not in great shape. Missing paper and a really rough/worn corner on one side. I have a 1914 Fed Reserve note from Richmond, but it wasn't signed my any of the parties that make it on the more valuable side. I have an 1899 Black Eagle Silver Certificate, again, not the prized signatures. A 1907 "Woodchopper and some various foreign money. Some of which isn't even worth the paper it was printed on. Although it is beautiful. I also had fractional noted in various issues from 3 cent to 50 cent. I had all 5 issues of 10 cent. Unfortunately some of the more valuable ones had problems. Writing in pencil on them, or had been folded at one time. It's too bad. The last thing I have, and my dealer had never seen it is a 25 cent certificate from Chamber of Commerce in Tenino, WA for 25 cents, but it has been printed on a thin slice of wood. It is in perfect condition and dated 1932. My dealer is going to try and find out what that piece is. I can't find ANYTHING about it online. It is a weird one.

    The whole collection iss pretty interesting. I had never even heard of fractional currency before now, and the Confederate money was very interesting as well. Unfortunately coins and currency are not my thing otherwise this is a collection I would keep and treasure forever. But it has been a lot of fun learning about each piece and to see how quickly the value can be ruined on something, so how easily you can have something that has a face value of 25 cents, but a sale value of $150!

    Thanks again for your input.

  6. #6
    Administrator Jesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by liquidkitty View Post
    Thanks! The info you provided I found as well, as well as a few other articles all of which claimed that there are only 2 known in existence, but it is believed that there had to be more printed (at least a sheet), but they have never surfaced. Well my situation would explain why this one never surfaced. My grandfather was a banker by trade and a numismatist by choice. It was his collection that I inherited. I don't know the history behind it though. I have every reason the believe this is a genuine piece which means I am a very lucky girl. We'll have to wait and see what Heritage and PCGS says I guess.

    The rest of the collection has severalMorgan & Peace dollars, as well as some ordinary 1941 coinage. There is a 1921 Alabama Centennial 1/2 dollar and a 1936 Oregon Trail 1/2 dollar, but they had both been cleaned a long time ago and have suffered sulfur tarnishing from the case they were in so unfortunately they aren't worth as much as they could be. There was also a very nice 1872 Seated Liberty. For the currency, there are several Confederate denominations. From $2 through $500. Unfortunately the $500 I have is not in great shape. Missing paper and a really rough/worn corner on one side. I have a 1914 Fed Reserve note from Richmond, but it wasn't signed my any of the parties that make it on the more valuable side. I have an 1899 Black Eagle Silver Certificate, again, not the prized signatures. A 1907 "Woodchopper and some various foreign money. Some of which isn't even worth the paper it was printed on. Although it is beautiful. I also had fractional noted in various issues from 3 cent to 50 cent. I had all 5 issues of 10 cent. Unfortunately some of the more valuable ones had problems. Writing in pencil on them, or had been folded at one time. It's too bad. The last thing I have, and my dealer had never seen it is a 25 cent certificate from Chamber of Commerce in Tenino, WA for 25 cents, but it has been printed on a thin slice of wood. It is in perfect condition and dated 1932. My dealer is going to try and find out what that piece is. I can't find ANYTHING about it online. It is a weird one.

    The whole collection iss pretty interesting. I had never even heard of fractional currency before now, and the Confederate money was very interesting as well. Unfortunately coins and currency are not my thing otherwise this is a collection I would keep and treasure forever. But it has been a lot of fun learning about each piece and to see how quickly the value can be ruined on something, so how easily you can have something that has a face value of 25 cents, but a sale value of $150!

    Thanks again for your input.
    Well be careful. There might be something that is improperly cleaned, but is still worth a lot, because there are hardly any others in in 'original' condition. Don't be fooled. If you are a complete amateur you need to find a very trustworthy dealer, or have everything sent into a grading service such as PCGS, it sounds like you want to sell the collection. I would highly suggest having everything graded. I don't know how large the collection is, but if the fractional you have is genuine it won't make a difference.

    What are the dates on most of the Morgans and the mintmark on them? You can find the location of the mintmark on our articles page under Coins of the U.S.->Silver Dollars.

    What I am saying is basically don't get too excited and start selling things like crazy for whatever prices are offered. If he was a banker and numismatic he probably had some nice coins and currency collected, and would roll in his grave if he found out grand daughter dumped it for pennies.

    Personally what I would do is wait for the results on the fractional, then go from there. If it is genuine and you sell it, sell it through a respected auction house like Heritage. Who is your contact there?

    Then with the rest of the stuff, I'd go through them one at a time, or have it all graded, and do research from there, or just sell it on auction. If you don't need the money immediately, I'd hang on to it after it's graded and auction it at a later date.

    If you list some more items (specifics) we could probably help you out with values.

  7. #7
    Administrator Jesh's Avatar
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    So, any news on your collection?

  8. #8
    Numismatic Duke Kavanaugh's Avatar
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    I'd like to know how it's going too.

  9. #9
    Expert Numismatic BCNumismatics's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard,Liquidkitty!

    Anything that looks like a banknote that has the name of a chamber of commerce on it is actually a type of community currency,which your 25 Cents certificate from Tenino,Washington is.

    Can you please upload photos of it in the gallery on here & in the Commmunity Currencies catalogue up on Allnumis - Your numismatic guide. Free coins and banknotes catalogs .

    Aidan.

  10. #10
    Numismatic Lady Liberty's Avatar
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    Your description of the 1255A does not exactly match the REAL 1255A. In fact, it sounds more like you simply have a FR#1255. A real 1255A would have REAL signatures in real ink. If it was real ink, then the signatures would have bled through the reverse, and I'm sure you would have mentioned such, as it would be an eye-sore, and quite revealing. In fact, the 1255A looks sorta sloppy with the ink bleeding through. If you have to hold the note up to the light to see the signature through the reverse, then it is not a 1255A, but only a 1255.

    Lets say you have only a FR#1255, and it is in GEM condition....then you are looking at a max of only $125 worth. Anything less than GEM quality will of course be much less.

    Good Reading: Robert Kravitz's, "A Collector's Guide To Postage & Fractional Currency". It will tell you everything you need to know about fractional currency, especially the FR#1255A.

    I hope this helps out.


    P.S. There are THREE FR#1255A's known...not 2.
    Last edited by Lady Liberty; 01-09-2011 at 03:51 PM.

 

 
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